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This Day in History: July 20

Events

1738 – Canadian explorer Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de La Vérendrye reaches the western shore of Lake Michigan.

1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Peachtree Creek: Near Atlanta, Georgia, Confederate forces led by General John Bell Hood unsuccessfully attack Union troops under General William T. Sherman.

1903 – The Ford Motor Company ships its first car.

1932 – In Washington, D.C., police fire tear gas on World War I veterans, part of the Bonus Expeditionary Force, who attempt to march to the White House.

1934 – Labor unrest in the U.S.: Police in Minneapolis fire upon striking truck drivers, during the Minneapolis Teamsters Strike of 1934, killing two and wounding sixty-seven.

1934 – West Coast waterfront strike: In Seattle, police fire tear gas on and club 2,000 striking longshoremen. The governor of Oregon calls out the National Guard to break a strike on the Portland docks.

1938 – The United States Department of Justice files suit in New York City against the motion picture industry charging violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act in regards to the studio system. The case would eventually result in a break-up of the industry in 1948.

1940 – California opens its first freeway, the Arroyo Seco Parkway.

1944 – World War II: Adolf Hitler survives an assassination attempt led by German Army Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg.

1950 – Cold War: In Philadelphia, Harry Gold pleads guilty to spying for the Soviet Union by passing secrets from atomic scientist Klaus Fuchs.

1960 – The Polaris missile is successfully launched from a submarine, the USS George Washington, for the first time.

1964 – Vietnam War: Viet Cong forces attack the capital of Định Tường Province, Cái Bè, killing 11 South Vietnamese military personnel and 40 civilians (30 of whom are children).

1968 – The first International Special Olympics Summer Games are held at Soldier Field in Chicago, with about 1,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities.

1969 – Apollo program: Apollo 11's crew successfully makes the first landing on the Moon in the Sea of Tranquility. Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the Moon (July 21 UTC).

1976 – The American Viking 1 lander successfully lands on Mars.

1977 – The Central Intelligence Agency releases documents under the Freedom of Information Act revealing it had engaged in mind-control experiments.

1997 – The fully restored USS Constitution (a.k.a. Old Ironsides) celebrates its 200th birthday by setting sail for the first time in 116 years.

2012 – James Holmes opened fire at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 and injuring 70 others.

2015 – The United States and Cuba resume full diplomatic relations after five decades.

Births

1838 – Augustin Daly, American playwright and manager (d. 1899)

1896 – Eunice Sanborn, American super-centenarian (d. 2011)

1929 – Mike Ilitch, American businessman, co-founded Little Caesars

1938 – Tony Oliva, Cuban-American baseball player and coach

Deaths

1923 – Pancho Villa, Mexican general and politician, Governor of Chihuahua (b. 1878)

1973 – Bruce Lee, American actor and martial artist (b. 1940)

1980 – Maria Martinez, San Ildefonso Pueblo (Native American) potter (b. 1887)

2013 – Helen Thomas, American journalist and author (b. 1920)

2014 – Bob McNamara, American football player (b. 1931)